We watch sports to see who wins and loses, but also to be inspired – and 2016 offered plenty of examples of the latter, from a touching moment between two strangers on the Olympic track to a little boy from a war-torn land who met his favourite soccer player to a warm ovation fuelled by empathy for a visiting National Hockey League goalie.Moments and feelings that will be recalled more vividly than any numbers on a result sheet or etched in bright lights on a scoreboard.There were athletes and coaches whose stories touched us, as well as folks connected to the sports world who contributed their own uplifting vignettes.One example: When sideline reporter Craig Sager died from leukaemia this month, there were heartfelt tributes tinged with sadness, of course, but also remembrances that spread the positive message he offered as he continued to cover the NBA and college basketball despite his illness.”Man, life is too beautiful, too wonderful. There’s just too many things,” Sager said in August. “It’s not just you. It’s your family and kids and all. Fight. Fight until the end. Fight as hard as you can.”Some inspiring sports moments during the past year:LENDING A HANDDuring a qualifying heat for the 5,000 metres at the Rio Games, Abbey D’Agostino of the United States and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand got their feet tangled, sending both sprawling. D’Agostino got up and, instead of trying to get herself back into the race, crouched down, helped Hamblin rise, and whispered: “Get up. We have to finish this.” It turned out that both were injured – D’Agostino could barely move by the race’s end and needed a wheelchair – but they crossed the line. Then they hugged. Longtime friends? Hardly. “That girl is the Olympic spirit, right there,” Hamblin said. “I’ve never met her before. Like, I never met this girl before. And isn’t that just so amazing? Such an amazing woman.” Even Olympic officials were moved by the episode, awarding both runners berths in the final.MEETING MESSIFirst, Murtaza Ahmadi, a 5-year-old from Afghanistan, was photographed wearing a plastic bag fashioned into a makeshift Lionel Messi uniform – blue and white stripes, like Argentina’s national team; Messi’s name and number written in black marker. The image became an Internet sensation. Later, Murtaza got to walk with Messi onto the field before an exhibition game. When it was time for the kickoff, Murtaza did not want to leave his new pal’s side.SALUTING AN OPPONENTIt takes something special for supporters of one team to salute a player for an opponent team that won a game, and that’s what happened early in the NHL season in Edmonton. The Oilers’ fans gave Senators goalie Craig Anderson a standing ovation after he made 37 saves for a shutout in Ottawa’s 2-0 victory over Edmonton – his first start since learning that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer.°SI SE PUEDE!Vibrant chants of “si se puede” resonated around Rio’s main tennis stadium as Puerto Rico’s unseeded Monica Puig beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber – who would win two Grand Slam titles in 2016 and take over the No. 1 ranking – to become her island’s first gold medalist in any Olympic sport. As the Puerto Rican anthem echoed around an Olympic arena and spectators belted out the lyrics, Puig was unable to join in for one simple reason: too many tears. “If I would’ve stopped crying,” Puig said, “I probably would have started singing.”GO, CUBS, GOThe Chicago Cubs’ first World Series championship in more than a century was a big deal to many long-suffering fans – and provided a way for some to reconnect spiritually with lost loved ones who never got to see Wrigleyville turn into Titletown. Wayne Williams kept a pledge he and his father made to each other and shared a moment they’d both been waiting for all their lives. Williams drove from North Carolina to his father’s gravesite in Indiana to listen on the radio “together” as the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 7.BREAKING RECORDS AFTER CANCERUniversity of Pittsburgh running back James Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015, went through more than five months of draining treatment, then returned to college football this year and wound up breaking Atlantic Coast Conference records for career touchdowns and running TDs. Now he’s headed to the NFL.
Filipinos winless in Pacquiao-Broner undercard as Jayar Inson drops split decision In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next [email protected] has arrived for fight night 👊 #PacBroner: https://t.co/nCQBGqUid3 pic.twitter.com/FxjlSaeaPQ— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) January 20, 2019Boxing’s only eight-division world champion arrived during the featherweight fight between Hugo Ruiz and Alberto Guevara. He is fighting in the US for the first time in two years.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award [email protected] arrives for his return to Las Vegas for #PacBroner! pic.twitter.com/vlWxLDvPeS— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) January 20, 2019MANILA, Philippines—Manny Pacquiao has arrived at MGM Grand Las Vegas ahead of his title defense against American Adrien Broner Sunday (Manila time).FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsPacquiao (60-7-2) will defend his WBA World welterweight title for the first time after he took the strap from Lucas Matthysse via seventh round technical knockout on July 15, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur.ADVERTISEMENT Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college View comments Wife Jinkee accompanied Pacquiao to the venue.For #PacBroner updates, visit The Pacquiao Files.ADVERTISEMENT Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title